Using various methods, tools and workshops, North Bavarian companies are offered an uncomplicated introduction to the world of digitisation.
The need for employees, who have IT skills and are interested in technology and innovation is great in the Upper Franconia region. The CO-LEARNING LAB intendeds to give medium-sized companies in the region a jump-start for their digital transformation. By upskilling employees with regards to digital processes and digital solutions medium-sized companies can gain more efficiency and competitiveness. Through the Co-Learning Lab, companies can enter the world of digitalisation and the issues in the field of Industry 4.0 in a playful and researching manner. Thereby they can experience and understand technologies and transfer them into ideas and rapidly generated physical prototypes.
In preparation for the workshops a learning platform teaches the participants basic concepts with regards to the methods and tools of digitalisation.
In 2017 Hof University and IZK presented the idea to interested companies in the Kronach region since the funding was specifically aimed at that region.
To prepare the workshops, the organisers (Hof University of Applied Sciences & Kronach Innovation Centre) collected the questions posed by the companies in order to answer them in corresponding thematic blocks during the workshop.
Based on the principle of “blended learning” the following presence-workshop provided opportunities for further training, tinkering and developing concepts.
Methods used during workshop: Information visualization, prototyping, robotics, web technologies, 3D printing.

Resources needed

Laboratory equipment: 3D-Printers, LittleBits Kits, Blockly Software App-Development, Lego-Sets, Computers, 3D/CAD Software.
The project was 50% funded by the research centre "Man Machine Interface" and 50% by the project partners from the industry.

Evidence of success

Four important Companies in the Kronach-Region in Upper Franconia took part in the practice: Hans Weber Maschinenfabrik, Dr. Schneider Unternehmensgruppe, WOCO Kronacher Kunststoffwerke, Paul Rauschert Steinbach am Wald.
The evaluation of the Co-Learning Lab by the participants showed, that they would recommend this practice to others. The motivation was so high, that participants would have liked to work even more on the different subjects.

Difficulties encountered

It is important to have enough material to work with for every participant. For the execution of the process it is required to have instructors who are technologically apt as well as skilled in the guidance of people with a variety of professional backgrounds.

Potential for learning or transfer

Testing and approaching the right access to Industry 4.0 is often time and cost intensive. Many companies therefore have the problem that it is often financially difficult to keep up with the rapid digitisation in their industry. The workshops are designed to help them to solve problems creatively in a very short amount of time. This should make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to recognise the opportunities and risks of digitisation projects at an early stage, even before the implementation goes into operation. For the success of such a practice it is very important, that results can be achieved in a short time and are visible and understandable to the participant.
The tools used are characterised by easy learnability and accessibility through Open Source.
The advantage of this project is that it is mobile. This means that learning events such as these can be arranged more flexibly in terms of space, location and subject matter.

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Main institution
Hof University
Start Date
March 2017
End Date
December 2017


Anne-Christine Habbel Please login to contact the author.